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Wednesday, 06 March 2019 13:00

Rock star – ‘The Impossible Climb’

Alex Honnold has been having a bit of a moment.

The legendary rock climber made history in July of 2017 when he became the first to ever free solo climb – that is, climb without ropes or other aid – El Capitan, a notorious 3,000-foot cliff located in the Yosemite Valley in California.

Honnold’s historic ascent – years in the making – was the subject of “Free Solo,” a documentary by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin that just won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards.

But film is just one medium through which the story of Honnold’s climb can be told.

Mark Synnott’s “The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life” (Dutton, $28) is a longform literary exploration of Honnold’s feat. It lends texture and context to the climb, connecting it to the history of climbing in general and climbing in Yosemite specifically. By checking in with the sport’s forebears – among whom Synnott can include himself – the book allows for a depth of understanding in how climbing has evolved, as well as how that evolution has resulted in an athlete such as Alex Honnold.

Published in Adventure

What is it that truly defines athletic genius?

While there’s no doubt that physique and physicality play massive roles in what makes a successful athlete, there’s more to it than that. True sporting greatness springs from not just one’s body, but also that body’s connection with the brain.

In his new book “The Performance Cortex: How Neuroscience is Redefining Athletic Genius” (Dutton, $28), Zach Schonbrun attempts to explore that connection; it’s a deep dive into the neuroscience behind movement that attempts to develop an understanding of the body-brain relationship and determining how the relationship impacts those performing at an elite athletic level.

Published in Sports

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